LONDON – The rain and gale force winds have subsided, at least for now, and that’s good for preening and people-watching at London Fashion Week, which hit Day 3 Sunday. Models Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss, who showed up as a VIP, were the centre of media attention at a flurry of shows, including Topshop Unique, Vivienne Westwood, Temperley and Preen.
London was more glamorous than usual, even by usual fashion week standards, as the twice-yearly style event coincided with the award ceremony for BAFTA, or the British Academy for Film and Television Arts.
Some of Sunday’s highlights and low moments follow:
CARA DELEVINGNE DESIGNS FOR MULBERRY
Mulberry didn’t have a catwalk show this season, but that’s probably OK. They have model of the moment Cara Delevingne.
The British luxury label enlisted Delevingne to design and model a range of handbags for them, and the mini collection, which can be worn as backpacks, on the shoulder air or handheld, was unveiled Sunday at London luxury hotel Claridge’s.
Delevingne wore a simple white slip dress and went barefoot to model the bags, appearing on a swing in a ballroom transformed into a misty forest scene. She twirled and walked around for a bit, accompanied by two male models and a few dogs, and the whole show was over in less than five minutes.
It was a little underwhelming even given Delevingne’s star power, but Mulberry got the publicity it wanted. The brand needs all the help it can get, after the recent departure of creative director Emma Hill and disappointing sales over Christmas.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD PROMOTES ANTI-FRACKING
Never mind the fashion: Vivienne Westwood has it down to a T. More importantly, the veteran designer wants to talk about fracking and the floods wreaking havoc in Britain.
The grand dame’s show notes urged guests to join a rally against fracking, a technique the energy industry uses to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals. She also told reporters backstage that climate change must be addressed to stop the damage caused by extreme weather conditions.
Environmental concerns aside, the designer showcased a collection that was signature Westwood, with tartan, expertly nipped in blazers, and perfectly draped dresses.
“I really wanted to emphasize, to epitomize, my English look,” she said. “This show was very easy. Even before I did it, I knew it well myself.”
Singer and songwriter Jessie J, who wore an orange Westwood jumpsuit paired with a turban made from a Burberry scarf, was a fan. “She pushes me as an artist,” she said, adding: “I could wear this 10 years on, and it’d still be fashionable.”
KATE WON’T TALK
London Fashion Week wouldn’t be complete without an appearance by Britain’s most famous model. Just don’t expect Kate Moss to stop and shoot the breeze with reporters.
Moss stirred a brief commotion as she arrived as a front row guest at Topshop’s runway show, causing everyone to put down their champagne and canapes and raise their smartphone cameras.
But Moss, who has long supported the brand, was as cool and unapproachable as ever. She chatted and laughed with Topshop boss Philip Green and her friends, but ignored journalists’ pleas for a quick word about the clothes, the weather, or anything at all.
All she would do is say – through a spokeswoman- that her khaki green boiler suit, worn with a vintage shaggy black jacket, came from Topshop.
The supermodel was happy, though, to pose for pictures with her half-sister, Lottie Moss. The 16-year-old, who is just starting out in modelling, sat with Kate, Green and American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who has taken in several shows since fashion week started Friday morning.
BUT JOELY RICHARDSON HAS PLENTY TO SAY
The movie and TV star, who is part of the Redgrave acting dynasty, has a message for designers: Be nice.
She says she is drawn to Alice Temperley not only because of her designs – Richardson calls them “beautiful, romantic, ultra-feminine, sexy” – but because of the designer’s unusually kind personality.
“The clothes are No. 1, but she’s very family oriented, very kind and very, very inspired,” Richardson said moments before Temperley’s catwalk show started Sunday. “When you go into her shop, she has a few pieces that are just there for inspiration. I love that mentality. I’m just starting to wear some of her pieces, and when I work with someone, I really like it if they’re nice as well.”
She was wearing black toreador pants topped with a striking fuchsia jacket (by Temperley) and spent the minutes before the show chatting with model Yasmin Le Bon.
The show was an ambitious blend of monochromatic outfits, brightly-colored ensembles, including many with semi-sheer tops and some with floral themes, and short dresses or tops set off with thigh-high leather boots. Every outfit had a finished, well-executed feel.
“I thought it was really beautiful,” said socialite Peaches Geldof, who was wearing an elegant full-length sleeveless dress that revealed her tattoos. “I love all her stuff. It’s so recognizable, so ’20s influenced, very romantic.”
LUPITA NYONG’O SHINES AGAIN
This season London Fashion Week had to share some of its limelight with the BAFTAs, which staged its black-tie awards ceremony just around the corner at the Royal Opera House.
The red-carpet standout was “12 Years a Slave” actress Lupita Nyong’o, who dazzled the crowds in a strapless emerald-green Dior Couture gown.
Many others opted for black, and not just the men in their tuxedos. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie wore matching tuxes, while Amy Adams chose a black dress by former Spice Girl and British design heroine Victoria Beckham.
THE FORCE IS STRONG AT PREEN
The designers behind Preen have three words for their new collection: Hot sci-fi geek.
Annie Hall met Darth Vader on the label’s catwalk, a showcase inspired by 1970s fashion and popular culture. There were Diane Keaton-inspired loose printed dresses and high-waisted, wide leg pants, but the designers took kooky cool to another level by taking inspiration from Star Wars fans and their parkas.
“We really wanted this geeky girl, a hot geek,” said co-designer Justin Thornton backstage, as two Storm Troopers goofed around nearby.
The extreme winter climates this year helped inspire the many warm coats, furry hooded jackets and fluffy fur stoles, though Thornton said they have a minor movie character to thank for the trapper hats the models wore.
“That’s from Annie’s brother, the lunatic who drives the car in the dark,” he said.
Associated Press writers Gregory Katz and Jill Lawless contributed to this story.